Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys are one of those classic rock and country rock bands that oldies music fans will probably remember. The band was founded in New York. They are known for their only hit and charting single “Good Old Rock and Roll,” which almost made it to the Billboard Hot 100’s top 20 during the late 60s music era. Their debut album, The Street Giveth… And the Street Taketh Away was produced by the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix. More on this band in this article!
Early formation and early career
Roy Michaels (born on February 25, 1942 – died in 2008) and Bob Smith (born on July 7, 1942 – died in 1991) founded Cat mother and the All Night Newsboys together. Then the lineup was expanded with additional members: Larry Packer (vocals, guitar, violin), William David “Charlie” Chin (vocals, guitar), and Michael Equine (drums, guitar). Michaels played bass guitar and sang, while Smith played keyboards and drums, as well as sang.
The group was founded in New York’s Lower East Side in 1967. By the end of the year they were regularly appearing at Café Wha? in Greenwich Village, which led to their gig as a house band at Electric Circus in East Village.
The group’s recordings, including the only hit “Good Old Rock ‘n Roll”
In 1969 Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys secured a recording contract from Polydor Records. Their good friend Jimi Hendrix agreed to produce their debut album The Street Giveth… and the Street Taketh Away in 1969. The band’s association with the legendary guitarist goes way back to the time when they met each other in New York City. Both the band and Hendrix were managed by Michael Jeffrey.
The album was given support by a line of gigs that opened Hendrix’s performances. The LP carried the single entitled “Good Old Rock ‘n Roll,” a medley of rock and roll classics of the 1950s assembled by the band. It rose to #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1969, one place short of entering the Top 20. It also went to #35 on the “Top 50 Song from the Summer of 1969”
Chin left the group not long after their biggest hit. In an attempt to break ties with their manager Jeffrey, the remaining band members moved to San Francisco, settling in the community of Mendocino. The lineup expanded with the inclusion of Jay Ungar (vocals, guitar, mandolin and violin) and Paul Johnson (guitar). Guest vocalist Lyndon Lee Hardy contributed in two of the band’s songs. Together they released their second album Albion Do-Wah in 1970. However, by the time they released their third album Cat Mother, the band now only consisted of Michaels, Smith and Equine plus new guitarist Charlie Prichard and drummer/percussionist Steve Davidson.
Prichard quit soon after however, and was replaced by Charlie Harcourt. The band released their final album in 1973, which has the apt title Last Chance Dance. They continued to perform until their dissolution in 1977.
Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys are considered as a “one hit wonder” band. The band members have long gone their separate ways, but most of them continued their own music career. Smith died in San Francisco in 1991 while Michaels passed away in Houston, Texas in 2008.